Nov. 26, 2005
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Toney Baker had the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard leap over the pile, Marcus Hudson returned one of his two interceptions 28 yards for a clinching score and North Carolina State beat Maryland 20-14 Saturday to become bowl eligible.
Mario Williams tied his own school record with four sacks for the Wolfpack (6-5, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who allowed a total of minus-6 yards in the third quarter. They likely will return to the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons under coach Chuck Amato after missing out in 2004.
No such luck for the Terrapins (5-6, 3-5). They are staying home for the second year in a row, done in by repeated turnovers and other mistakes down the stretch. A week ago, quarterback Sam Hollenbach was responsible for three turnovers - two were turned into TDs by Boston College - and he continued to give away the ball against N.C. State.
With Maryland trailing 10-7 in the fourth quarter, Hollenbach tried to connect with Danny Melendez, but Williams forced him to throw early. Hudson stepped in front of Melendez and ripped the ball out of his hands, then sprinted up the sideline with his first interception of the season.
That made it 17-7, and on the next possession, Williams sacked Hollenbach and forced a fumble, with defensive tackle DeMario Pressley recovering for the Wolfpack. When the Terps held, John Deraney came on for a 29-yard field goal to increase the margin to 20-7.
Hollenbach briefly bounced back. He led Maryland on a 75-yard drive to pull within 20-14, finishing it off with a scoring toss to tight end Vernon Davis that covered 15 yards. But N.C. State held on for its fourth win in the final five games when Hudson intercepted another one of Hollenbach's passes with 34 seconds left.
Now Hudson and his teammates can only hope for one more game.
The Terrapins completed their schedule losing four of the final five. They played this one without starting wide receiver Derrick Fenner, who didn't make the trip for unspecified reasons. Yet even with him, they would have had a hard time solving the Wolfpack's defense, which gave up 30 yards rushing and finished with seven sacks.
Hollenbach was 20-for-35 for 235 yards.
Maryland completely controlled the first half, yet led only 7-3 after Dan Ennis hooked two field goals wide left. And the only points for N.C. State - a 38-yard field goal by Deraney - came after Jo Jo Walker bobbled a punt into the hands of Hudson.
The Wolfpack needed to drive 13 yards to take a 3-0 lead, and it was a good thing, too. They struggled offensively in the opening half and finished with only 39 yards on 21 plays.